Visiting Lecture – Joan Fontcuberta

One of the first things that Joan said in his lecture to us was “I will never finish a project, like Picasso ‘I will never finish a painting – I just abandon it!’.”  This struck me as both a mad and inspiring thing to say, it made me think of how our lecturers would react if we were to say this to them! But it was inspiring and made me think of my own projects, I began to realise that my projects were like that, I start things and get them to a certain standard that I’m happy with and then move on, I could always do more to them and continue with them if I wished, it’s not to say that at that time I don’t consider them to be complete but in retrospect things an always be added to or improved in some way and that, I think is the fun side of art and projects, I don’t think that any project is ever complete and an always be added to.  I think that the real meaning of this is that creativity never stops, neither does inspiration, so if you see a project as being complete you are shutting the door on the creative process for that line of thinking and you make it, more or less, impossible to return and add to it.

Joan was born in Barcelona, Spain 57 years ago, he lived under dictatorship and much of his work is a reaction to the environment that he grew up in.

Each project of his is very different to each other one but are all coherent in their goal.

Joan spent 3 years in advertising and journalism where photos are literal translations of fats.  He saw that this was naive, something that can be exploited by an intellectual construction.

Through The Looking Glass is one of Joan’s projects (   He uses collected images to create his art, and displays the images as they are.  The mirror and the daguerreotype are similar, the daguerreotype being the mirror with memory.  Lee Friedlander took images with mirrors and their reflections included, often the reflections were of Lee himself.

Including mirrors in photos creates another dimension and shows images within images.  It adds interest.  It is a way of taking portraits of yourself using your reflection, everyone can take pictures of themselves using mirrors.  It is interesting as you can tell a lot from someone by the items in the background of the photo and where it was taken.

These images, photos taken in mirrors, can be used as messages not meant to be kept (self-portraits – eg “what do you think of this outfit?” et, sent from one person to another).  The images can be used to show/portray individuality, travel (where they have been etc), to document moments (such as parties, pregnancy etc.)

People have started to use different methods to take mirror photos, for instance, using the flash to obscure the face, to make it an anonymous photo whilst showing off the body.

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